People collect so many shells from the beaches in Okinawa that hermit crabs are forced to adopt bottle caps as homes. As photographer Shawn Miller posted pictures of them, people around the world began sending him shells to leave on the beaches for hermit crabs in need. He carves MTSN (“Make the Switch for Nature”) and a number on the shells. He’s currently on number 790. Hermit crabs are very social animals, he says. People don’t realize that they are like gardeners who clean the ocean and the shoreline and disperse seeds that create coastal forests that block the wind and storms. The goal of his project is to inspire people to care more for the environment, Miller says.

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